I haven't paid as much attention to my local track of Emerald Downs this year as I normally do - since this site began in January I've primarily focused on the national stakes races and meets such as the Triple Crown, Keeneland, Saratoga, and Del Mar. This week, however, I'm going to spend a little bit of time previewing Sunday's Grade 3 Longacres Mile Handicap, the feature race of the Emerald Downs meet and the only graded thoroughbred stakes race north of California, west of Minnesota, and south of Vancouver, B.C. (got that?). Yeah, I know, there isn't a whole lot of racing in that area to begin with.
I'm planning on heading out to Emerald on Friday night (since it's $2 beer night), and again on Sunday, and will hopefully be able to snap some decent photos from the action on both days. Either that or I'll take some pictures of all my torn up pari-mutuel tickets...it depends on how the day goes.
Below are the twenty-one pre-entries with the final draw taking place at 11am local time on Wednesday:
Here Comes Ben
Track of the North
Some additional notes:
-The Longacres Mile is a "Win and You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, as it has been the previous two years. However, neither of the last two Mile winners (Assessment and Wasserman) has elected to go to the Breeders' Cup.
-The Doris Harwood trained Noosa Beach stamped himself as the top local contender for the 2010 Mile following his ten length victory in the Budweiser Handicap on June 20th.
-Gallant Son was the top juvenile horse at Emerald Downs in 2008 and has been plying his trade in California in 2009 and 2010. Most recently, Gallant Son has raced in graded turf events in Southern California.
-Last year, Assessment beat Awesome Gem to win the 74th Longacres Mile.
-A summary of the major pre-entries can be found at the Emerald Downs Mile Preview section at their website.
-Emerald will also run the Emerald Distaff on Sunday on the Mile undercard.
I'll have more on this year's Longacres Mile later on in the week following the draw.